Insider knowledge on making your Waiheke wedding planning a breeze
So you're considering a wedding on Waiheke Island or you've already decided that this is your dream destination, either way you might be wondering... how on earth do I organise a wedding on an ISLAND?! Surely it's a logistical headache?
Well, it might just be easier than you think. Waiheke is a popular spot for weddings and is totally self sustaining. Everything you could possibly need to hold the wedding of your dreams is right here, you just need to know where to look. Whether you're planning a big get together with everyone you know and love or an elopement with just your nearest and dearest, here's a fool proof list of things you need to know about planning a Waiheke Island wedding:
1. FIND A VENUE THAT SUITS YOUR NEEDS
With an abundance of jaw-dropping venues, you're not short of options on Waiheke. Pretty much every vineyard hosts weddings, you also have free range of world class beaches at your fingertips. If neither of those work for you, there's also an assortment of parks, private venues and accommodations with epic views.
Whatever your idea of the perfect venue is, make sure that it suits your needs. The venue is arguably the most important decision of your wedding planning process. Your choice here can determine how the rest of your decisions are made depending on how flexible the venue is with their rules.
Here are some questions to consider when deciding on your venue:
- What is the maximum guest capacity?
- Is there catering available in house?
- What are your rules around decorations?
- What time do my vendors need to pack in and pack out by?
- Are there staff available to serve the guests?
- What is the ratio of staff to guests available?
- What time does our wedding have to end by?
- Is there any time that our ceremony has to start by?
- Are there speakers available?
- Is there a microphone available?
- Do you provide meals for our vendors?
- Is there a minimum spend?
- What furniture is available on site for use at our wedding?
- Do I need a permit to host my wedding here?
- Does the venue allow BYO beverages?
- Does the venue only allow vendors from their preferred supplier list?
Poderi Crisci, Waiheke Island | Photo credit: Tomasz Wagner - Photographer
2. ENLIST LOCAL VENDORS
Unless you're absolutely set on an Auckland vendor for something specific, chances are you can find the same or very similar service on Waiheke.
Some benefits of using a local supplier are:
- Delivery costs, travel time and ferry costs aren't cheap for suppliers coming from Auckland. Some vendors also include cost of accommodation in their quotes, pricey! It all adds up. Save money by shopping local.
- Support Waiheke locals to keep doing what they do best
- Local knowledge - island suppliers have insights on what works and what doesn't, they also know where to find the very best for your wedding
We truly believe that there is a vendor for every wedding need on the island, from celebrants, photographers and cake makers to florists, planners and live music, there really is a plethora of talented wedding professionals on Waiheke that are ready to take on your requests.
Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island | Photo Credit: The Venue Report
3. BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION EARLY
Summer sees the population on Waiheke double... if you're holding a wedding between November and March, book your accommodation as early as possible to avoid disappointment, especially if you're booking accommodation for your guests as well!
4. HIRE YOUR PROPS
Why buy items that you might never use again? You can get the look that you're dreaming of by hiring furniture, decor, lighting, props etc from island suppliers. Reasons to hire:
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- You might just be inspired by the gorgeous selection of items that the hire companies have available
- Save on transportation costs of bringing a van over to the island for all your things!
- Cut down on overall costs of buying everything yourself
- You might be able to have higher quality items at your wedding than you'd normally be able to afford if you were buying
- Some hire companies offer styling help when you hire their items
Thomas' Bach - Waiheke Island | Photo credit: Trip Advisor
5. ORGANISE YOUR TRANSPORT
The transport aspect of planning a wedding on Waiheke Island can often be the element that puts off most people from tying the knot there, don't panic!! There are many options once you get to the island for getting you and your guests to and from your wedding.
- Fullers and Sealink are the main operators for ferries to and from the island, although you could also enlist a private charter if this is within your budget. Sealink has a car ferry so that you can bring your own vehicle to the island, just be aware that their time slots book up quite quickly in Summer.
- If you know that all of your guests are travelling at the same time, it could be a good idea to notify the ferry company so that your guests aren't left stranded on the dock because the boat is full. Fullers offer group discounts for advance bookings too.
- Public transport is super easy on the island and all of the buses pick up from the ferry terminals and match up with the ferry timings.
- There are many private charter bus companies that are relatively inexpensive for group bookings. There are even companies that allow you to rent the bus only and drive it yourself, if you have a dedicated sober driver this is a much cheaper option.
- Biggest piece of advise - rent a car! Not only is it much cheaper than taxis but it gives you the freedom to explore the island as you choose. Make the most of your time here and see the sights. Renting a car also allows you to pop out and grab any last minute details that you might have forgotten, phew!
- Just a word of advice, book your taxis in advance where possible and ask for the price when booking. Although the island taxi providers are fast, they also have a monopoly of the market here with no competition from rideshare apps and some companies overcharge tourists just because they can.
Man O' War Vineyard | Photo credit: Man O' War
6. FIND A WAIHEKE WEDDING PLANNER
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of managing an island wedding, why not get in touch with a Waiheke wedding planner. Most of them base themselves full time on the island so that they have the full run down of what it takes to create a spectacular wedding there. They will have advice and a wealth of knowledge to help you see the wedding planning process as an enjoyable time instead of a stressful one. Some of them might even manage to obtain discounts from suppliers for you with their close contacts in the industry.
7. GIVE YOUR GUESTS MORE NOTICE
Usually save the dates go out to guests 6 months before the wedding date and invites around 3 months... we recommend upping those numbers by a month each. Give your guests as much time as possible to organise their journey to the island.
Points to consider when creating your communications to your guests:
- Accommodation gets booked up pretty quickly on the island, especially during Summer. Researching some accommodation options for guests to go along with your invites could encourage more people to attend.
- Transport - depending on where your guests are traveling from, getting to your wedding could be a daunting planning exercise for some. Think about including ferry information along with your chosen transport option when they've arrived on the island.
- Local hot spots - Get your guests excited about coming to the island by including some local places that you love, maybe your favourite beach, restaurant, activity or hike.
- Parking - If your guests are coming from a little further away, include information about parking in Auckland if they're not taking the car ferry.
Planning a wedding on Waiheke doesn't have to be difficult, you just have to allow yourself a little more time and trust that shopping local is the best way to ensure the most premium results.
Book your accommodation early to avoid disappointment and organise your transport to make it as easy for guests as possible.
Regardless of whether you're planning an elopement or a large wedding, the little luxuries can make or break how you feel about your wedding day so if you're finding it difficult, enlist the help of a wedding planner to help you scout venues, find quality suppliers and work with you to create a day that you'll always remember with joy!
Here at Indigo Waiheke, we pride ourselves on creating weddings that you and your guests will remember for a lifetime. Check out our wedding planning services and our product hire for more information!
Cable Bay Vineyard, Waiheke Island | Photo credit: Hitchbird